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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Ode to a Brave New World

I still have one final installment of my neo-monastic discourse to post, and that should be up sometime later this week. But for now, here, as promised, is a poem that actually employs a clumsy sort of rhyme. It's a little different from any other poem I've ever done, but I was pleased with how it turned out. It was somewhat inspired by reading Wendy Shalit's A Return to Modesty, a common-sense critique of the current extremes of the sexual revolution in American culture.


The world is dark and gray and cold,
And I am backward and I am old.
The sun has set, it seems to me;
The bleak dusk mutes our misery
Against the twilight of our souls.

We are wasted, we are gone,
We are lost amid the throng.
We sigh with weariness and care
For the freedoms we now bear,
The delights we sought so long.

Daring we! who tore the veil,
Who noble ways of old assail;
We loosed the joy of liberty
With unrestrained ferocity
And opened paradise’s vale.

No more need and no more fear,
No more shame will be felt here.
Morality is of the past;
We are free and we will last
Beyond the universe’s years.

Virtue judged repressively
And vice is much more fun, you see.
Just glance around the painted smiles,
The joy of all our fads and styles,
This carnival of ecstasy.

We need no shame, we laugh and taunt
Our fathers, now that they are gone,
And we congratulate ourselves
On all our happiness and wealth,
For all our rights which once were wrong.

Who needs beauty? Who needs truth?
We are contentedly aloof.
A little lust, a little lie,
And we can surely get on by,
Secure in undeclining youth.

Honor was a pleasant thought,
By fanciful delusions wrought,
But no one’s evil and no one good;
We are all misunderstood,
And scarred from wars our fathers fought.

The world is filled with happiness
From our intrepid selfishness.
We’re free to laugh and sing aloud,
To hide our heartache from the crowd,
To revel in our aimlessness.

But now I wonder oftentimes
Why birds still sing and words still rhyme.
Beauty hasn’t fled away,
And sunsets crown each passing day;
This world is breathlessly alive.

Unfettered lust is fun, it’s true,
But romance can be wild too.
Perhaps honor isn’t meaningless,
Perhaps there’s mystery in a kiss,
A wonder too intense to lose.

Lust will wither, pride will fade;
These visions vanish from my gaze.
Pale they danced before my eyes
In lilting steps and tempting guise,
But now they end their loathsome days.

I dream again, and what a dream!
A dream that silences the screams.
A new world dawns with brilliant hue,
A world that beckons me and you,
Where virtue recklessly redeems.

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